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Boko Haram Survivors Are Starving To Death As Aid Falls Short

“I have never heard such fear and desperation. This is a new terrible.”

07/30/2016 07:00 am ET
A boy suffering from severe acute malnutrition at one of UNICEF’s nutrition clinics in the Muna informal settlement on the outskirts of Maiduguri on June 30.

The people of northeast Nigeria are about as tough as they come. Their remote region is ground zero for many of the world’s most vexing problems, including an Islamic militant insurgency, crippling poverty, and the devastation wrought by climate change.

Now, the United Nations warns that the area may face a new calamity: famine.

People in the region “are used to coping with extreme hardship, exploiting every and any option they can to keep their families going,” U.N. Humanitarian Coordinator Stephen O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council on Wednesday. “But … this suffering has pushed them to the absolute limit ― it is unlike anything they have felt before.” He called it “a humanitarian catastrophe.”

The hunger crisis has been growing since militant group Boko Haram captured swaths of northeast Nigeria in 2014, crippling agriculture and the local economy and displacing more than 2 million people. The insurgency by Boko Haram extremists, who in recent years have killed more people in terror attacks than the Islamic State, has left more than 20,000 people dead.

The fighting has further isolated the region from the rest of the world. That means the humanitarian crisis brewed mostly out of sight until Nigeria and its allies began pushing Boko Haram out of camps, villages and towns over the last year.

Aid groups are just beginning to reach areas that were recaptured, and representatives said they’ve been horrified by what they’re finding.

In mid-June, more than 1,000 people were evacuated from the Nigerian town of Bama so they could receive medical treatment. Aid group Doctors Without Borders said 39 percent of the town’s children were severely malnourished.

“When we saw that, we realized the severity, and it was a shock,” said Isabelle Defourny, Doctors Without Borders director of operations. A week later, the aid group’s staff reached the town for the first time with a military escort and found more than 1,200 graves, including 480 for children, had been dug in the past year.

Humanitarian officials with decades of disaster experience said the situation was among the worst they’d ever seen.

“What we have uncovered and assessed is deeply, distressingly alarming, even for those of us who have witnessed such depths of humanitarian need before,” O’Brien told the U.N. Security Council. “I have been traveling throughout this region on and off for the past 37 years [and] I have never heard such fear and desperation. This is a new terrible.”

Bruno Jochum, Doctors Without Borders general director, called it “a large-scale humanitarian disaster” and urged the U.N. to set up an emergency food pipeline. “Probably the medical and epidemiological indicators are the worst we are facing today in the world,” he said.

A young girl at the Muna settlement for displaced people. UNICEF estimates that some 50,000 children in northeast Nigeria are at risk of dying from malnutrition and related causes without immediate assistance.

“This is about as bad as it gets,” Toby Lanzer, U.N. assistant secretary general in the Sahel, told The Guardian this month. “There’s only one step worse ― and I’ve not come across that situation in 20 years of doing this work ― and that’s a famine.”

The numbers are daunting. The U.N.’s Children Fund estimates that nearly a quarter-million children in the region are severely malnourished, and some 50,000 will die without immediate treatment.

That warning, stark as it may seem, may not capture the full extent of the crisis. Only half of the estimated 500,000 to 800,000 people in displacement camps in northeastern Nigeria’s Borno state are reachable by aid agencies, Defourny said. Most of them are living in isolated towns destroyed by fighting, taking shelter in the remaining structures while under military guard. In the town of Bama, for example, 15,000 people, mostly women and children, are living in a hospital compound with no latrines, poor access to water, and little food, Defourny said.

Outside the camps, aid groups have no clear picture of how many people are still trapped in their villages, or how bad their situation is. Thousands continue arriving in urban areas, many in poor health recounting stories of ongoing fighting and starvation back home.

How did the situation get so bad?

First, the Boko Haram insurgency destroyed the local economy. Farmers couldn’t farm, markets shut down, and millions fled to escape the fighting.

Second, neither Nigerian authorities nor international aid agencies have yet mobilized a humanitarian response robust enough to meet the need. This is partly due to ongoing fighting. The U.N. on Thursday temporarily suspended aid operations in Borno state after Boko Haram militants attacked a humanitarian convoy, injuring a UNICEF employee and a contractor.

But some aid workers criticize humanitarian organizations, including U.N. agencies, for being too slow to recognize the extent of the crisis and to respond. Additionally, the Nigerian government didn’t make clear its need for aid, claiming that Boko Haram had been defeated and the displaced population could return home.

Some ex-government officials say Nigerian authorities deliberately covered up the extent of the crisis to avoid international embarrassment.

“We were not aware of the gravity of the situation. We were not fast enough,” Defourny said. “People in this region have already lost a lot of life due to political violence, and today they are dying because of something else, malnutrition, that is avoidable.”

A woman carried her daughter to the nutrition clinic in Muna. Over 2 million people have been displaced by the deadly insurgency by militant group Boko Haram.

Nigerian officials in recent weeks have sounded the alarm with more urgency. Last month, Nigeria’s minister of health declared a nutrition emergency in Borno state, and the local government has appealed for international assistance.

Aid groups have urged the government to lift bureaucratic barriers in order to facilitate the entry of aid, as reports begin to circulate that corruption ― soldiers demanding protection money, or government workers pilfering aid supplies ― is slowing the response.

“Taking from these people is like stealing from a corpse,” said one police officer in a Nigerian displacement camp, according to Foreign Affairs.

A makeshift hut in the Muna settlement. Aid workers say groups have not moved fast enough to bring aid to the region, and the government underplayed the crisis.

With limited aid, people in northeast Nigeria are doing all they can to help their community survive. About  90 percent of displaced people in the region are staying with extended families or community members, and schools and empty buildings in Maiduguri have been repurposed to house displaced families.

Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., on Wednesday recalled a university security guard she met in northeast Nigeria, who had taken in more than 50 relatives displaced by the violence.

He is a national hero and there are tens of thousands of such heroes across the region,” Power told the U.N. Security Council. “I think we of greater means should all be inspired by these heroes to do much, much more.”

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Last edited by sunnubian

  Nigeria is supposed to be one of the largest African countries in Africa, I don't understand WHY they haven't eradicated Boko yet.  It seems that they have the military,,,,and even so they weren't able to get those girls back.  I am at a lost for words.  I thought Nigeria was one of the strongest nations.  I guess not.  Or they don't care.  Which the latter appears to be the case.  But!

Kocolicious posted:

  Nigeria is supposed to be one of the largest African countries in Africa, I don't understand WHY they haven't eradicated Boko yet.  It seems that they have the military,,,,and even so they weren't able to get those girls back.  I am at a lost for words.  I thought Nigeria was one of the strongest nations.  I guess not.  Or they don't care.  Which the latter appears to be the case.  But!

I think its a combination of not giving a damn, the cultural sexism that them that these girls are worth saving now that they have been "tainted", and their military probably only being there for Africa's "elite".  

Also, there were hints that Nigeria's president has had his palms greased by Boko Haram or their Arab masters to not do anything or to look the other way while Arabs usurp even more  [OIL RICH] African land [or while some Western power or corporation concocts a way to control it].

The latter is believable because of how long it too Nigeria's president to act at all, not to mention his wife's disparaging remarks about the girls that amounted to her saying 'big deal', or something to that effect.

Richest People In Nigeria 2015 – Forbes List

/ March 4, 2015


Nigeria has the highest blacks on FORBES list and also has more billionaires than any other country in Africa, including the continent’s richest man.

According to the magazine, these are the 13 wealthiest people in Nigeria as of 2015, who have made the most of the opportunities that have come their way.

13) Oba Otudeko – Net Worth: $550 Million

Oba is the founder and chairman of Honeywell Group. The group’s operations stretch across flour milling, oil and gas, marine transportation and real estate. He also owns Radisson Blu in Lagos, Nigeria.


12) Hakeem Belo-Osagie – Net Worth: $600 Million

This 59 year old self-made millionaire is married and based in Lagos. He has an MBA degree from Harvard Business School. He is the chairman of the Nigerian operations of the UAE based telecom service provider Etisalat.

Hakeem Belo-Osagie

11) Tunde Folawiyo – Net Worth: $650 Million (Nigerian)

Nigerian businessman Tunde Folawiyo is the managing director of the Yinka Folawiyo Group, a conglomerate with interests in agriculture, energy, shipping, engineering and real estate.

Tunde Folawiyo

10) Mohammed Indimi – Net Worth: $670 Million

This 65 year old self-made Nigerian millionaire resides in Maiduguri. He is married and has eight children. He is the chairman of the Oriental Energy Resources, a private Nigerian oil exploration and production company.

Mohammed Indimi

9) Jim Ovia – Net Worth: $850 Million

This self-made millionaire is married and has two children. He resides in Lagos. This successful banker founded Zenith Bank Group. With market capitalization of more than $4 billion, it is one of Nigeria’s largest financial services groups.

Jim Ovia



8) Orji Uzor Kalu – Net Worth: $1 Billion

Orji Uzor Kalu is a billionaire as of 2014. He is the founder of Slok Holding, a $2.5 billion West African conglomerate with interests in banking, shipping, manufacturing, oil trading and media.

7 Tony Elumelu – Net Worth: $1 Billion

Nigerian-born self-made billionaire is one of Africa’s most revered business leaders. He made his fortune through a variety of investments, including a controlling interest in Transcorp.

Tony Elumelu - Net Worth

6) Theophilus Danjuma – Net Worth: $1 Billion

The self made Nigerian billionaire resides in Abuja. He is a retired Nigerian general. He served as the defense minister of Nigeria. He is the chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum.


5) Abdulsamad Rabiu – Net Worth: $700 Million

This 54 year old self made Nigerian billionaire is based in Lagos. He is the founder of BUA group, a Nigerian conglomerate with investments in real estate, cement production, sugar refining, manufacturing, port concessions, steel, shipping and oil and gas.


4) Femi Otedola – Net Worth: $1 Billion

The self-made millionaire is married and has four children. Femi Otedola’s Zenon Petroleum is one of the largest diesel distributors in Nigeria. Its annual sales is more than $2 billion. In 2009 he was among Forbes Billionaires but dropped out of the list after shares of Zenon Petroleum plunged more than 80%.

Femi Otedola

3) Folorunsho Alakija – Net Worth: $1.9 Billion

This 63 year old self made billionaire is the second richest woman in Africa. She controls Famfa Oil, which pumps about 200,000 barrels a day. Her tailoring company Supreme Stitches has many elite clients. She founded the Rose of Sharon Foundation in 2008. This foundation helps widows and orphans.


2) Mike Adenuga – Net Worth: $4 Billion

This self-made Nigerian billionaire is the founder of Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest mobile phone network.


1) Aliko Dangote – Net Worth: $15.8 Billion

This 57 year old self-made billionaire is the CEO of Dangote Group. He is the richest man in Africa and richest black in the world. Dangote made his wealth from cement, sugar and flour.


The above-mentioned people have contributed immensely to the growth of Nigeria. They are indeed an inspiration to the youth of Nigeria.

30 Nigerian Richest Billionaires in Nigeria 2015


What is the secret to the success of the top 20+ richest people in Nigeria? Who are the Nigerian billionaires and how did they amass their wealth? What are the business success secrets of the successful entrepreneurs in Nigeria? What does it take to become a billionaire in Nigeria? If the answer to any of these questions interests you, then please read on.

Recently, i compiled a list of theworld’s richest billionaire school drop outs and today, I will be compiling a list of Nigerian billionaires and top richest people in Nigeria but please this list will be restricted to entrepreneurs only. Politicians and individuals whose source of wealth cannot be traced are excluded from this list. Most people have asked why so few Nigerians made the Forbes list of richest people in the world.

Well the answer to that question is this: Forbes estimates the wealth of individuals and rank them based on the value of shares they have in quoted companies (companies listed on the stock exchange) and most of the richest people in Nigeria prefer to run their businesses privately. That’s why they don’t make the Forbes list of richest people in the world.

ALSO READ  Top 20 Highest Paid Political Leaders In The World

Update: We want to state categorically that this list has nothing to do with the Forbes list. We are not affiliated with Forbes and did not source this content from Forbes. We did our own research before coming up with this list. Secondly, our list is strictly focused on entrepreneurs / business owners whose businesses can be ascertained; not politicians. Thank you.

The criteria for coming up with this list

Most of you may be wondering the criteria or benchmark on which I compiled this list of richest people in Nigeria. Well, I compiled this list based on the following criteria:

  • By the value of their shares held in quoted companies.
  • The size and market share of their companies
  • The number of companies they own and its assumed value
  • The market value of their company’s brand
  • The impact of their companies on the Nigerian economy

I compiled this list of richest people in Nigeria and highlighted the secret to their success because I believe we can learn a lot from them. Nigeria as a country has been branded all sort of names and a lot has been said about Nigeria; both positive and negative but I am proud that some individuals stood tall to tell the world that we have got potentials.

Despite the harsh terrain and business challenges involved with starting a business in Nigeria; the successful entrepreneurs listed below held their ground and fought their way to the top. In a country with a population of over 150 million inhabitants and millions of businesses; these 20 entrepreneurs diligently carved their names in the sands of time by taking advantage of the fastest growing business opportunities in Nigeria.


So instead of boring you with their success stories; I would rather extract the vital lessons learned from the life of these billionaires. If you are ready to learn, then below is a list of the Nigerian Billionaires (entrepreneurs) and top richest people in Nigeria.

Nigerian Billionaires and Top 30 Richest People (Entrepreneurs) and what they do in Nigeria 2015

  1. Alhaji Aliko DangoteDangote Group, (Manufacturing, oil & gas,)
  2. Mike AdenugaConoil, Globacom (Oil & gas, Banking, Telecom)
  3. Femi OtedolaForte Oil and Gas (Oil & gas)
  4. Orji Uzor KaluSlok Group (Aviation, Shipping, publishing, manufacturing)
  5. Cosmos MadukaCoscharis Group (Automobile, manufacturing)
  6. Jimoh IbrahimNicon Insurance, Global Fleet (Insurance, transportation, oil & gas)
  7. Jim OviaZenith Bank, Visafone (Banking, Telecom)
  8. Pascal DozieMTN Nigeria, Diamond Bank (Banking, Telecom)
  9. Oba OtudekoHoneywell Group Nigeria, Pivotal Engineering, Airtel(Manufacturing, oil & gas, telecom)
  10. Alhaji Sayyu DantataMRS Group (Oil & gas, construction)
  11. Umaru Abdul Mutallab – former Chairman First Bank Plc, Mutallab Group
  12. Prince Samuel AdedoyinDoyin Group (manufacturing, pharmaceuticals)
  13. Dele FajemirokunChaiman Aiico Insurance, Xerox Nigeria, Chicken Republic, Kings Guards (Insurance, Security, Technology, Food retailing)
  14. Chief Cletus IbetoIbeto Group (Trading, manufacturing, oil & gas)
  15. , (Entertainment)
  16. Tony EzennaOrange Group (Pharmaceutical, oil & gas)
  17. Chief Molade Okoya ThomasChairman CFAO Nig and other six french companies (Automobiles)
  18. (Oil & gas)
  19. Leo Stan EkehZinox (Computer, technology)
  20. Fola AdeolaGTBank (Banking)
  21. Chief Ade OjoElizade Motors Nig LTD, Distributor of Toyota cars (Auto retailing)
  22. Abdulsamad RabiuBua Group (Oil & gas, manufacturing)
  23. Folorunsho AlakijaFamfa Oil (Oil & gas)
  24. High Chief O.B. Lulu BriggsMoni Pulo (Oil & gas)
  25. Hakeem Bello OsagieEtisalat Nigeria (Telecom)
  26. Sani BelloAmni Petroleum (Oil & gas)
  27. Mohammed IndimiOriental Petroleum (Oil & gas)
  28. Sir Emeka Offor – Chrome Group (Oil & gas, marine)
  29. Chief Arthur EzeAtlas Oranto Petroleum (Oil & gas)
  30. Vincent Amaechi ObianodoYoung Shall Grow Motors, RockView Hotels(Transportation, hotels)

Now having gone through the list of richest (entrepreneurs) people In Nigeria, I believe it’s time I share with you the secret to their success. I am not sharing these secrets with you to fill up space or excite you. Rather, I am sharing the secrets of Nigerian billionaire entrepreneurs so you can pick up one or two lessons and replicate their success strategy. After all, success can be replicated.

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